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Ben Ball News & Notes

I guess we are going to be on the topic of Shipp’s 3 point shooting until he knocks down a few. Once again Shipp’s 3 point shooting was the top topic in this week’s team press conference. Not only did Coach Howland and JS addressed the topic head on during the conference, they left no doubt on how hard they have been working on finding back Josh’s rhythm:

"Today I had him come in. It’s probably, in reality, my poor coaching, just not doing enough repetitions. Shooting is repetition. Today, I had him come in this morning and he was 200 for 285 shots [70.2%]. He really shot well this morning, so a lot of it is my not doing a good enough job getting him in there and getting more shots, more repetition.

"Part of that too, is when you play a guy so many minutes and you’re beaten up –- and we ask him to do everything, play really good defense –- and still knock down shots from the perimeter, When you’re playing 35 minutes a game and you’re playing really hard, it’s not easy. But I think today was a really good step back in the right direction.

"He’s been coming in to look at the film of the last three games, just to see the shots. I’m really confident that he’ll get it going again. In fact, I want him to see the ASU game; he shot really well the first time we played ASU. When he’s open, we expect him to take the shot.

"One thing I think he’s got to do, is shot fake. So many people -– because he’s so good -– are running at him and flying at him, he’s got to be able to shot-fake it and bounce it some. He’s actually doing a better job of that."
As for Shipp, here is Dohn:
"Being the best outside threat, it's my job to knock those down," Shipp said. "Maybe I'm not holding my follow through as much during the game. Maybe I'm rushing it a little bit. Bottom line, I just have to knock them down."

Opponents have altered their defense of Shipp, often sending defenders running out to close down an open shot.

"I think maybe I've been thinking about it too much, just hearing (Howland) say guys are running at me, being more conscious shooting the ball," Shipp said. "We always have a saying that we don't see the defender, but maybe that's gotten in my head a little bit."
Josh will be fine. It’s pretty clear he and his coaches are working their tails of off to fix the issue. That’s all I can ask for. While his shot has not been falling, he has been doing everything else his coach has asked from him: playing defense, helping out his team-mates. He just needs to keep shooting within the flow of the game (w/o forcing the action), and as I mentioned before it would be a good idea to get DC to take more 3 pointers than he has during this season.

While Josh has been working hard to get his shot back, KL is not making any excuses for his lethargic performance (the notion that a 15 pts/11 boards performance can be considered "lethargic" goes to show what kind of player KL is) from Saturday. He went out of his way to "apologize" to his team-mates:
Without offering an absolute explanation for what he called his "low energy level," UCLA freshman Kevin Love promised he would not have another game in which his enthusiasm and focus seemed away from basketball, alluding to UCLA's victory over Oregon last Saturday.

As point guard Darren Collison noted, it is the special player who can score 15 points with 11 rebounds and have his effort questioned.

"Actually he showed me he was a great player," Collison said. "He had a bad game and had 15 and 11. He's not perfect, though."

Love said he talked with Bruins Coach Ben Howland and with his family afterward. "It wasn't that I had a bad attitude," Love said. "It was just one of those games where I was out of it and I have to apologize to the team about that because I shouldn't let my actions affect my team.

"Another game like that is not going to happen. It's not fair to me, not fair to my teammates, not fair to my coaches and not fair to fans."
Well, I think KL doesn’t need to worry too much here. He just needs to keep doing what he did during the last 9 mins of the game. After all he is a kid. He is just a freshman. And it is not unusual for a freshman to hit that proverbial wall at this point of the season. He found a way to gut it out (despite being sick according to multiple reports) and contribute in our big win Saturday. Hopefully he will come back this week with more energy and keep playing at the same level he was at in the closing mins against the Ducks.

Speaking of this week here are Coach Howland’s thoughts on ASU:
>> Concerning Arizona State (17-9, 7-7 in the Pac-10) on Thursday, Howland said he didn’t anticipate substantive changes in how the Bruins will prepare for the Sun Devils in their second game of the season. "They’re still doing the same defense, that’s a match-up, 3-2 zone with a lot of switching, man-to-man principles. Our preparation for an opponent, in terms of how we do it doesn’t change. It’s just based on personnel, what they’re doing different, if they’re doing something different than the first time."

Even though the Bruins won easily in their first meeting at home, 84-51, Howland expects a tough game Thursday and into the future. "Look at the youth of the team right now, it’s incredible," he explained. "They have good, young players in their program. They’re going to be very good not only this year. I think we’re going to get 6-7 teams in [to the NCAA Tournament] and they’ll be one of them. If they beat us on Thursday, it obviously enhances their resume to get in. So we know they’re going to play very, very hard and be very motivated. That’s the same thing we saw on Saturday; if Oregon beats us, that enhances their chances of getting into the NCAA Tournament."
Last time we played them at Pauley, the team shot almost 59569 percent from the field in a 30+ pt trashing. One of the key factors in that blowout win was the decisiveness with which we attacked their zone by having our guards relentlessly penetrating inside and creating multi dimensional offensive opportunities. Sounds like DC knows what he has to do tomorrow night:
"There's not too much you can change," Collison said. "I thought we did a good job of attacking their zone; penetrating, creating for others. If we continue to do what we did against them the first game, we should be all right and in great shape."
Hopefully DC, RW et al come out with a purpose in the first half tomorrow night. They are going to face a team that will be hyped up and charged up infront of raucous home crowd. Also you have to take into account as we are facing them for the second time, they will certainly make their defensive adjustments. We have to come out with a purpose, keep our composure, execute on offense, while playing the tenacious D we have been playing in the closing mins against Oregon and Southern Cal. In other words we will be in "great shape" if we play our brand of Ben Ball.